Thursday, 21 September 2017

devil’s on the doorstep

Thanks indeed to TYWKIDBI for giving us the chance to re-visit the engineering superstition (not pictured) that considered feats of medieval architecture so far beyond the capacity of human builders—especially bridges—that local populations would have had to enter into a diabolical compact in order to have their commission fulfilled.
Certainly encountering such marvels would have been rare and awe inspiring, but people, vastly under- estimating their own abilities, attributed them to more ancient, pagan times (the opposite direction from another bit of German lore, the Schwedenschanze (EN) that mistook ancient fortifications and earthworks to be remnants of the Thirty Years’ War with Sweden rather than traces of prehistoric humans).  During the Middle Ages even the relics of Roman roads were considered to be too logistically sophisticated and in excess of mortal requirements to not be the product of some Faustian bargain.  I wonder what sort of preconceptions are clouding our vision presently that we will only be able to dispel with hindsight.

cheminées sarrasines

We enjoyed this article on the enduring mystery of the so-called Lanterns of the Dead from Amusing Planet and reminded us how we were first acquainted with the structure while on holiday on Île d’Oléron.
The purpose and origin of the towers that appear predominately in southern France but are also to be found in other European countries is unsettled but one theory suggests that the towers were guideposts built along ancient pilgrimage trails that pointed the way to the Holy Land—the French word for moors (maures) misheard as the word for “dead” (morts) and the new appellation eventually held. The use of the towers to gain one’s bearings—or orientation, of course comes from the lands to the East where the sun rises.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

l’autre moi

We’re again indebted to the brilliant Nag on the Lake for bringing us quite a fascinating biography of two brave and creative individuals whose story and contributions to the resistance went untold with the life and times of step-siblings and life-time partners Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe—also known as Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore.
Pioneering selfie-artists and authors, Cahun and Moore (the other me, as Cahun called her lover) challenged traditional gender roles and honed their identity and craft at a time when the world was going full-on fascist and fled Nazi-occupied Paris for the Channel Islands. Up to this point, their situation reminded me a bit of that of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas during the war but seeing that after resettling in Jersey in 1937, they really stuck their necks out rather than keeping a low-profile as Jewish lesbians might do. Nazi forces invaded the island in 1940 and the two risked their lives with a psy-ops hearts-and-minds campaign to make Nazi soldiers believe that there was a large-scale, professional effort to take back Jersey imminent, aided by a typewriter and translated text to lend credence to their claim and helped with the liberation of the island. They were eventually taken into custody by the secret-police but their stance was enough of a reprieve to stay their punishment until the Axis powers in Europe surrendered.

rocket man or unga chunga

The imbecile Dear Leader was given a platform at the United Nations general assembly which to the consternation and alarm of not only those US allies in the region but I’d venture every soul departed, on Earth and yet to come pledged to “totally destroy” North Korea and its twenty-five million residence should it continue to menace its neighbours and America.
Despite his past criticism for the international body for inaction and inefficiency (and cheap emerald marble backsplash), he flinched, thankfully, in his pugilistic rhetoric by heaping the onus on the UN by saying that hopefully a military response wouldn’t be necessary: “We’ll see—that’s what the UN is there for.” Such bluster is not only a grave embarrassment that strips America of all credibility—and although Americans might distance themselves from their leadership, the rest of the world is losing patience fast with those apologies and pretenses—it carries consequences and responsibilities that Dear Leader has proven himself incapable of assuming.


hello, I am a bear: ursine pondering and poetry, via Dave Log

alles in ordnung: German government being sublimely dull

down in the underground: the forgotten catacombs underneath Brussels, via Messy Nessy Chic

muted: hushed and concise social media is reviving the cinematography of the silent film

orbit city: celebrating the life and work of Gin Wong, the architect who inspired The Jetsons

adult swim: synchronised images of Soviet-era public pools